Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Chelsea:

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Questions and Answers: Chelsea leasehold conveyancing

I am in need of some leasehold conveyancing in Chelsea. Before I get started I would like to find out the remaining lease term.

If the lease is registered - and almost all are in Chelsea - then the leasehold title will always include the basic details of the lease, namely the date; the term; and the original parties. From a conveyancing perspective such details then enable any prospective buyer and lender to confirm that any lease they are looking at is the one relevant to that title.For any other purpose, such as confirming how long the term was granted for and calculating what is left, then the register should be sufficient on it's own.

There are only Sixty One years remaining on my lease in Chelsea. I am keen to extend my lease but my freeholder is absent. What options are available to me?

If you qualify, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the County Court for an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be lengthened by the magistrate. However, you will be required to prove that you have used your best endeavours to track down the landlord. For most situations a specialist may be helpful to carry out a search and prepare an expert document which can be used as evidence that the freeholder can not be located. It is advisable to get professional help from a conveyancer both on proving the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court covering Chelsea.

I am attracted to a two apartments in Chelsea which have about forty five years left on the leases. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?

A lease is a legal document that entitles you to use the property for a period of time. As the lease shortens the marketability of the lease reduces and results in it becoming more expensive to extend the lease. For this reason it is often a good idea to extend the lease term. More often than not it is difficult to sell a property with a short lease as mortgage companies may be reluctant to lend money on properties of this type. Lease extension can be a protracted process. We recommend you seek professional assistance from a conveyancer and surveyor with experience in this arena

I've recently bought a leasehold flat in Chelsea. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before my ownership?

Where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous lessee and they have not paid you would not usually be personally liable for the arrears. Strange as it may seem, your landlord may still be able to take action to forfeit the lease. It is an essential part of leasehold conveyancing for your conveyancer to ensure to have an up to date clear service charge receipt before completion of your purchase. If you have a mortgage this is likely to be a requirement of your lender.

If you purchase part way through an accounting year you may be liable for charges not yet demanded even if they relate to a period prior to your purchase. In such circumstances your conveyancer would normally arrange for the seller to set aside some money to cover their part of the period (usually called a service charge retention).

Do you have any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Chelsea from the point of view of saving time on the sale process?

  • Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Chelsea can be reduced if you get in touch lawyers as soon as you market your property and ask them to put together the leasehold information which will be required by the purchasers’ representatives.
  • The majority landlords or managing agents in Chelsea charge for supplying management packs for a leasehold premises. You or your lawyers should enquire as to the actual amount of the charges. The management pack can be applied for as soon as you have a buyer, thus reducing delays. The average time it takes to obtain the necessary information is three weeks. It is the most frequent reason for frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Chelsea.
  • Some Chelsea leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this is the case, you should place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers put in hand financial (bank) and professional references. Any bank reference should make it clear that the buyer is financially capable of paying the annual service charge and the actual amount of the service charge should be quoted in the bank’s letter. You will therefore need to provide your estate agents with the actual amount of the service charge so that they can pass this information on to the buyers or their solicitors.
  • If there is a history of any disputes with your freeholder or managing agents it is essential that these are settled before the property is put on the market. The purchasers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a flat where a dispute is unsettled. You will have to accept that you will have to pay any arrears of service charge or settle the dispute prior to the buyers completing the purchase. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled ahead of the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You are still duty bound to disclose particulars of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is better to reveal the dispute as over as opposed to ongoing.
  • If you are supposed to have a share in the freehold, you should make sure that you have the original share certificate. Arranging a new share certificate is often a lengthy formality and delays many a Chelsea conveyancing deal. Where a reissued share certificate is needed, you should approach the company director and secretary or managing agents (if relevant) for this at the earliest opportunity.

  • Following years of correspondence we are unable to agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Chelsea. Can we issue an application to the Residential Property Tribunal Service?

    Most definitely. We can put you in touch with a Chelsea conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a Chelsea property is 150A Albert Palace Mansions Lurline Gardens in July 2013. The Tribunal determined that the premium payable for the new lease of the subject property was £42,069 This case related to 1 flat. The the number of years remaining on the existing lease(s) was 57.06 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Chelsea